Last week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis vowed to see constitutional carry become the law in Florida before he leaves office. Since many expect him to run for president in 2024, that means the clock is likely ticking.
For gun rights advocates, such a move would be a huge win.
Yet, unsurprisingly, some people are less than thrilled by the promise.
Jacksonville, Florida’s News 4 reported last week that “Some Floridians are gun-shy about the idea — including Z. Farhat, who manages firearm sales at Green Acres Sporting Goods. He says firearms are powerful tools and anyone who owns or uses them should undergo training, particularly, if that person is carrying a weapon in public.”
“I feel like if you’re going to carry a gun on you, you should have to go through some kind of training and safety course, you know, I think anybody that even buying purchasing a firearm needs to educate themselves on proper firearm safety,” Farhat said. “Guns are not toys, they’re tools, and they should be respected.”
No, firearms aren’t toys. On that point, I agree completely.
Let’s be charitable and assume that Farhat only wants mandatory training prior to getting a permit and not before being allowed to buy a gun at all. It’s possible that he’s trying to say he just thinks training before buying a gun is a good idea.
If so, he’s not wrong. If not, well, then he is.
Regardless, though, this is about constitutional carry, so let’s focus on that side of his argument, that he believes training should be required prior to anyone being able to carry a firearm.
It sounds reasonable to many. However, there’s really not a lot of evidence that it actually makes anyone safer. Studies have shown that people with concealed carry permits are extremely law-abiding.
While this might appear to back Farhat’s assertion, the truth is that the study also looked at states with no training requirement. Despite that, the numbers don’t really change.
Meanwhile, people with training sometimes don’t act upon that training. Take the case in Clearwater, Florida where a concealed carry permit holder shot and killed another man over a parking spot. While it’s an anomaly among those with carry permits, it’s safe to say his training class didn’t tell him it was alright to kill someone when there was no threat to one’s life.
Training doesn’t mean people retain it and the lack of a training requirement doesn’t mean people don’t get it. In Texas, after they passed constitutional carry, training enrollment went up.
So, it’s not difficult to believe that there’s any reason a training requirement actually does anything.
Yet Farhat wasn’t the only one who has concerns.
“It would make me uneasy,” said Jacksonville resident Tom Minitte to News 4. “There’s enough violence right now, so why do something that will have more people carrying guns?”
Well, maybe because the people who are the problem are already carrying them?
See, constitutional carry doesn’t actually help criminals. Some claim it does, but convicted felons still can’t lawfully carry a firearm. They can’t even own one.
The only people who benefit from constitutional carry are the law-abiding. That means that you’re unlikely to see more violence result from ending permitting. Especially as it’s been the law for ages in places like Utah and New Hampshire, both of which are on the lower end of violent crime rates in the United States.
Jax 4 reported, “Katie Hathaway is from Mom’s Demand Action, which is a movement of Americans fighting for public safety measures that can protect people from gun violence.”
“This is a huge threat to public safety, not only Floridians, but also tourists and visitors and especially law enforcement officers,” Hathaway told the news outlet.
The report continued, “She said that she and other gun control advocates are prepared to fight against this proposal. ‘We advocate for common sense laws that we know will make our community safer and permitless carry will do the opposite of that,” Hathaway said.
Except, the jury is still out on whether gun control actually has any positive impact on crime. While there are studies that do, indeed, suggest just that, there are issues with pretty much all of them.
Plus, the push for the liberalization of gun laws really began in the 1990s at the state level, which happens to coincide with the drop in violent crime from their historic highs. While correlation doesn’t equal causation, if folks like Hathaway are right, we’d expect to see the exact opposite, but we didn’t.
As such, there’s little reason to believe further liberalization of gun laws in Florida will do what Moms Demand Action claim.
(I contacted the governor’s office for comment, but didn’t receive a reply as of this writing.)